On March 21, 2006, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey (@jack) sent the first tweet to invite others onto the service.

On November 10, 2011, Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) wrote a controversial tweet that might have shut down the concept of personal branding.

Kutcher saw a headline about Penn State football coach Joe Paterno getting the boot and tweeted about the controversial issue and defended Paterno, saying “How do you fire Jo Pa? #insult #noclass as a hawkeye fan I find it in poor taste.” Thing is, Kutcher didn’t seem to read all the details because one of Paterno’s assistants had 40 counts of sexual abuse of children and didn’t report it to authorities.

Suddenly…Flash Mobs!

He deleted the tweet after 30 minutes and said, “: “As an advocate in the fight against child sexual exploitation, I could not be more remorseful for all involved in the Penn St. case.”

Bad move, Ashton. Haven’t you heard of people taking screenshots?



After that came a barrage of tweets calling the King of Twitterland an idiot amongst other insults (which are not related to his lousy acting). As with any other influencer on a social network, Kutcher’s Twitter reach of 8 million will react to any tweet he releases. Flash mobs will surface and douse you with negative feedback if you made a tiny mistake about a tweet, especially when you’re a celebrity. Worse, those 8 million users might have retweeted Kutcher’s tweet to make a snowball into an avalanche.

Kutcherfication: Ashton Turns Over His Twitter Account

Kutcher turned over his Twitter account to his team at Katalyst Media. He says they can properly manage his Twitter account’s content. On his blog he said:

A collection of over 8 million followers is not to be taken for granted. I feel responsible for delivering an informed opinion and not spreading gossip or rumors through my twitter feed. While I feel that running this feed myself gives me a closer relationship to my friends and fans I’ve come to realize that it has grown into more that a fun tool to communicate with people. While I will continue to express myself through @Aplusk I’m going to turn the management of the feed over to my team at Katalyst Media to ensure the quality of it’s content.



Clearly, Mr. Kutcher is chickening out and running away from his responsibility to his 8 million followers. It’s a quick escape from a lemon-y mistake that he could’ve been turned into lemonade. After all, Kutcher’s clout made some players in the Valley notice and took time to discuss business with him.

But now, he’s turning away from the very people who made him king of the world’s best micro-blogging service. He’s turning away from the simple yet challenging responsibility of being a purveyor of substantial and genuine information. All of this because people are bashing him for his misinformed tweet. FYI, Kutcher is actually a mover of social good like #Malaria and movements to stop child trafficking.

Why your Klout Score Can’t Save you from Lemons

Ok. We all know it’s the not first time that Ashton Kutcher made social boo-boo using his Twitter account. While Kutcher has a “social responsibility” to his millions of followers, he’s not a PR expert or anything for that matter. But Ashton Kutcher is a brand himself, and should be aware of that but he sees his Twitter as more of a communication tool than a podium for both substantial opinions or insipid tweets. It only shows a person’s Klout is not commensurate to a brand or celebrity’s ability to make lemonade out of lemons.

Personal branding junkies such as social media experts and digital marketers should learn from Dell Hell that lead Dell to put a premium on social monitoring. Personal branding through meticulous content management and apt user engagement makes a difference in your online PR. Always keep in mind that a mere Klout score of 90 is not enough to make your online PR always shimmering or squeaky-clean to your target niche. Come to think of it, Kutcher could have just apologized for the mess instead of instantly deleting his controversial tweet.

What do you think? Was it a good move for Ashton Kutcher to turn over his Twitter account to his Katalyst team for better Twitter management? Does your company have strategies for reputation management?